I was musing the other day over the way in which I used to attempt to manage my IBS. I was thinking back to just how dreadful I used to feel in general. Not just because of the IBS, but because of the way I used to avoid meals whenever I had something to do. If I had to travel, I’d skip meals, if I had classes I’d skip meals, pretty much any time I had to leave the house I’d skip meals.
Did that work ?
To a degree, I suppose it did. If I had eaten in the morning I’d be anxious that it would come back to haunt me later and that anxiety left me in a state of panic.Thinking back, it was really unpleasant, I had hunger pains and discomfort. I never felt ‘with it’, I always felt zoned out and often irritable.
When I finally got home, and new that I was going nowhere the feasting would begin. From that point onwards I felt whole again, safe at home, with the bathroom close I could finally put some fuel in the tank. I must have lived this way for nearly twenty years, I know a number of IBS sufferers that still live this way, and have done their whole lives. So what changed.
On my road to improvement NOTHING was harder than overcoming the fear of eating, particularly in the morning, and especially when travelling. The same Nurse who’d made such a spectacular difference to my life with her advice told me I had to start eating regularly, I doubt I’d have ever listened to another soul, but she had my trust.
When you are used to starving to survive, changing is an epic leap of faith and not one without risk. My own paranoia ensured that making the change was not instantly successful. There were ups and downs, but what was unavoidable was the way my mood lifted. I could concentrate throughout the day, and the pain in the belly had reduced.
How to get there
Anyone who is currently taking the starving approach to IBS, will no doubt be as dubious as I was at the suggestion of ‘eating’. That is totally understandable, it was only the words of a most trusted nurse that changed my mind and as I stated it was not all plain sailing, it was the trust that saw me through.
That said, if you can at least consider it I can not understate the improvement it makes in terms of your general feelings of health. If you are feeling brave, please start off gradually and eat things that are risk free. For example you’d think toast and jam would be straightforward - wrong. Toast has yeast in it, which can cause wind, sugary products like jam also - net effect = that horrible moment when you are unsure if it is gas or something more sinister. High GI (Glycaemic Index) foods will give you a temporary sugar rush then leave you feeling exhausted.
We recommend for those who suffer with rapid motility issues to avoid fibre and stick with something bland. Sushi rice is a great way to begin, sadly the rice should be plain to begin with, but it will provide you with energy through the day and remove the stomach grumbles.
Little and often is by far the best was to keep your energy topped up. This is indeed not the most appealing way to live, nobody at the office is going to wish to steal your lunch! However it is a means to an end, it is a way to rebuild your confidence about eating, and to give you some energy and clarity of thought throughout the day. It is not a cure or a fix, but for those of you starving yourself, we simply ask you consider it.